Mercy Co-worker Saves Toddler’s Life at Church

May 1, 2012

David Mathew, stroke coordinator

at Mercy Health Center

YUKON, Okla. – David Mathew, stroke coordinator at Mercy Health Center, thought it was his lucky day when his manager offered to cover his Sunday shift so he could go to church. Looking back on the day, David has realized much more than luck was at play.

“He usually works weekends, but I knew going to church was important to him,” said Kelli Dutton, manager at Mercy’s Stroke Center. “I said, ‘Go ahead and go to church. We’ll cover your shift today.’”

Little did Dutton know the impact her offer would make. Early Sunday, March 4, 2012 David was in the middle of the morning service at Sharon Fellowship Church in Yukon, when he heard his name called frantically from the back of the room.

Without a clue what was going on, David rushed from his pew to the church lobby, where he found Shelly Mathew (no relation) and her 11-month-old baby boy Noah.

Noah’s little limbs hung limp and his body was turning blue. The toddler wasn’t breathing.

“He was like a rag doll when they handed him to me,” said David. “His eyes were rolling back in his head.”

Despite the growing crowd and panic all around him, David knew what to do, thanks to his four years as an emergency department charge nurse at Mercy Health Center.

“God helped me through it,” said David.

He immediately started mouth-to-mouth on the toddler and after a few back thrusts, what David describes as a, “thick, white, mucus-like substance” flew from Noah’s mouth.

By the time emergency responders arrived, Noah was breathing and lifting his head on his own.

“God’s hand was all over this,” said David. “I want to give the glory to God. If I hadn’t been there, this could have turned out a lot differently.”

Mercy has been taking care of kids since 1827. Mercy’s founder, Catherine McAuley, began her healing ministry by serving sick and poor women and children in Dublin, Ireland. Today, on Mercy’s Day of the Child, we honor David and his colleagues who care for children every day – at work and within our communities. Read more Mercy Day of the Child stories here.


Mercy is the eighth largest Catholic health care system in the U.S. and serves more than 3 million people annually. Mercy includes 31 hospitals, more than 200 outpatient facilities, 38,000 co-workers and 1,600 integrated physicians in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Mercy also has outreach ministries in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. For more about Mercy, visit

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Media Contacts

Meredith Huggins
El Reno, Guthrie, Kingfisher, Oklahoma City, Watonga
Phone: 405-936-5766